Teruzushi and Matsuya come together for a broader interpretation of Japan’s summertime eel-eating tradition.

Teruzushi, located in Fukuoka Prefecture, is a decidedly upscale sushi restaurant. Head chef Takayoshi Watanabe has dazzled palates at gourmet dining events around the globe, and when customers come to his restaurant in the town of Kitakyushu, they can expect to pay 50,000 yen (US$370) per person for the pleasures their stomachs receive.

So it’s surprising that Teruzushi is now teaming up with Matsuya, the fast food beef bowl chain that’s one of Japan’s favorite spots for a quick, cheap meal, so that the two can make a delicious-sounding dish of both ell and beef

▼ Watanabe, holding a Matsuya bowl

As to the why they’re teaming up, every summer, people across Japan eat unagi (freshwater eel) on the day known as Doyo no Ushi no Hi. Why? Because long ago the word was spread (possibly by unagi merchants) that you could ward off the effects of heat exhaustion in the late part of the season (Doyo) on the day designated Ushi no Hi by eating other things that start with a U, like unagi.

The custom started roughly 200 years ago, and it’s still widely practiced to this day. That makes Teruzushi, whose flagship menu item is the Unagiburger (two slices of grilled unagi sandwiched around a block of rice and wrapped in seaweed), an especially popular place around Doyo no Ushi no Hi.

▼ The Unagiburger

There’s something kind of ironic about everyone eating unagi on Ushi no Hi, though, which is that Ushi no Hi translates to “Day of the Cow.” Sure, it’s more commonly translated into English as “Day of the Ox,” but the Japanese language doesn’t always differentiate between the two animals, since they can both be called ushi. Granted, the whole Day of the Ox name comes from Japan’s now discontinued system of naming days of the week after animals from the Chinese zodiac, but the fact remains that if your goal is to eat things that start with U on the Day of the Cow, eating ushi (beef) seems just as appropriate as eating unagi, if not more.

But Matsuya and Teruzushi have wisely decided not to Doyo no Ushi no Hi an either/or situation between unagi and beef, and are instead promoting a way to choose “both” in the form of the Unagyu Burger, which adds strips of Matsuya’s stewed beef bowl beef to the inside of Teruzushi’s Unagi Burger.

▼ The gyu part of Unagyu Burger is an alternate way to say “beef” or “cow” (last linguistics note, I promise).

Wrapped around everything is a strip of premium Ariake Nori seaweed sourced from Saga Prefecture, since this is meant to be eaten as finger food.

The creators describe the flavor profile of the Unagyu Burger as starting with the taste of the unagi’s sweet kabayaki glaze giving way to the crisp crunch of mild bitterness in the seaweed, with savory meatiness of the beef, and the sweet notes of the broth it’s stewed in, coming on after.

Though a joint venture between Teruzushi and Matsuya, the Unagyu Burger isn’t being offered for sale in either’s restaurants. Instead, it’s being sold online through Rakuten as a Unagyu Burger Kit that you build yourself. The bundles come in various sizes, with the smallest containing two Teruzushi unagi fillets, five packets of Matsuya beef, and four pieces of Ariake Nori.

“By all means, please fully enjoy this deliciousness in the comfort of your own home,” implores Watanabe.

The Ungyu Burger Kit can be ordered here through Rakuten, with prices starting at 7,000 yen (US$52), though that drops to 4,000 yen with the use of coupon code RGB2-ACEO-FWIM-4QUD. Preorders open at 8 p.m. on July 4, with this year’s Doyo no Ushi no Hi coming on July 30.

Source: PR Times
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, Rakuten
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